Declaration against authorization. The debate surrounding family education continued for more than three hours on Tuesday in the Senate as part of consideration of the separatism bill. In its text, the government envisages creating a system for prior permission from the rector’s office if a family wishes to use home schooling. The right-wing and centrist Senate majority preferred to maintain the current declaration principle. He therefore deleted clause 21 of the bill in committee, a deletion confirmed at today’s session. However, senators have increased scrutiny of this family instruction. Increasingly, it now affects approximately 60,000 children.
“Challenging Freedom of Education”
“The framework for using home education calls into question, from our point of view, the freedom of education, which is based on public schools, private schools with or without a contract and home education,” defended LR rapporteur Stéphane Piednoir, who wondered “about the true relationship between separatism and family education. The Ministry has not carried out a real study”. However, the rapporteur “believes” “that it is necessary to make some additions while maintaining the declarative system”.
Therefore, some amendments were adopted to strengthen control, such as a deadline for submitting a declaration or regarding the commitment of families to teach mainly in French. What surprised the Minister of National Education, Jean-Michel Blancker: “We can accept these amendments as a validation of the first version of Article 21,” he launched, “it is a posthumous tribute conditional on Article 21.” Temporary, because later the deputies will be able to introduce it again. “You are in the process of creating a post-authorisation regime,” adds PCF Senator Pierre Ouzoulias. “We remain in declarative mode,” replies Senator LR Max Brisson, but “we are also in the logic of control because we are responsible.”
“Family education is not put to the test by this bill,” assures Jean-Michel Blancker
Jean-Michel Blancker tried to defend the spirit of the measure passed by the National Assembly. “Homeschooling, homeschooling, is not being tested through this bill. On the contrary, like many freedoms, it is prescribed by law,” argued the minister. Denouncing the ‘caricatures’, he assured him: ‘We never intended to end education in the family. And yet this is what Germany, Sweden or Spain do”.
Jean-Michel Blancker on family education
He intends to be in “dialogue” with “the world of families, which we have listened to and which has mobilized a lot”. Hence the “broadening of exemptions” allowed in the text. But “what we are aiming for is a dishonest family upbringing that serves separatism.” The minister adds:
There is good and bad upbringing in the family.
“Yes, education in the family is a problem and creates a problem of separatism, not only in Islamic radicalism but also in sects,” insists the Minister of National Education.
“We know that there are more than 60,000 children educated in families, we know that this figure has exploded for 10 years, we know that it has exploded, by chance, in the territories where there is separatism,” adds Minister Jean-Michel Blancker, who denounces the double game of the right: “We pretend we don’t see this to satisfy other groups who pretend to be affected by this law when they won’t be. And we make a kind of political calculation around that.
“You are depriving a large number of families of their freedom”
Right in the center is another music. “Yes, there are deviations from family education”, but with Article 21 “you are depriving a large part of families of freedom” and “playing the game of the Islamists”, assesses Nathalie Delattre, a senator from the RDSE group. Homeschooling can also be justified “for health reasons, disability or for autistic children who cannot enter a public school because of the lack of an adapted class,” adds Colette Melo, a senator from the Les Indépendants group.
“I would hate for children in the Republic to go to school with the Koran instead of getting an education, but it is up to you to propose the means to avoid this excess without calling into question a fundamental freedom,” urged Senator LR Philip Bass, who ” believes that the freedom of teaching as a family is seriously affected by this text’. See:
Philip Bass on home education
“Article 21 comes from the will of the president, who said that home schooling should be abolished,” during the Les Mureaux speech in October 2020, recalled Bruno Retailo, president of the LR group. During this speech, the head of state stated that he wanted to “strictly” limit this way of learning. For Bruno Riteillo, “this article is ill-born” and “ill-directed”, like the entire bill, “too lenient when it is necessary to be firm”, but “liberticidal when it comes to attacking freedoms without justification, it is given”.
“The Outrage of the Senatorial Majority That Is a Variable Geometry”
Conversely, the RDPI (LREM) group senator, Nadège Havet, emphasizes that “5,000 children would be off our radar today. This is unacceptable”. She is surprised by the “double standard” of the senatorial right after the “hardening” of the text last week. Socialist Eric Kerrouche also scoffed at “the indignation of the senatorial majority, which is variable in geometry.” He adds:
It is not possible to build the nation on separatisms, whatever they are: religious separatism, but also social or separatism through elitism, or the fact of separating to stay among yourselves, with the own value of the system.
David Assoulin, also a PS senator, is surprised that the right is mobilizing more “about Algerian flags at weddings” than on this topic, “it’s almost a moment of truth about what motivates each other”.
Communist Cecil Cukierman also highlighted the injustice for parents who “have no other solution because they have to work and cannot stop for six months or a year to go to school.” “Education in families does not promote the socialization of the child, the learning of citizenship,” adds the socialist Jacques-Bernard Magner.
“What I’m hearing over there is complete nonsense! »
“We cannot caricature this side of the semi-cycle saying we will be lax on separatism and radical Islamism. What I’m hearing here is complete nonsense! LR Senator Laure Darcos responds. Which Olivier Rittmann, the rare LR senator to defend the government’s requested permit regime, did not appreciate. “I was wondering if I was getting a little silly. And I was wondering when I talked about banning family education, “Olivier Rittman joked. “We talk about PMA without a father, but what about the child without a friend? asks Senator LR from Haute-Saône, who defends the need “for the school of the Republic that saved me, in relation to my special family situation”.
Despite a certain dialogue of the deaf, Jean-Michel Blancker still tried to convince the usefulness of this text, not without responding to the attacks, in particular that of LR Olivier Paccaud, who sees in the measure “collective punishment” unjust. “I’m going to tell you about off-topic copying, and there are many times when we are off-topic,” launches the minister, who pleads: “Let’s stop pretending we’re off-target. I kept saying it wasn’t so.”